‘Unpredictable Times’ includes works by international artists, who have created works specific to the occasion. An online event of audiovisual art, premiered on Saturday June 27th at 6pm GMT.
Despite the pandemic and the world going crazy, creativity and collaboration are still alive. It’s an honour to showcase some of our favourite artists’ works and give the community the opportunity to join this event and explore music and art during these difficult times.
After the initial online presentation of ‘Unpredictable Times’, the programme is still available.
Programme including running order
Hyelim Kim - ‘Jeju Soundwaves’ (5 min.) - Jusan, 2020
Nature and our connection to the natural world are core aspects of Korean aesthetics and traditional music. The music that we create forms part of the natural sound world, and correspondingly the sounds from the environment should also part of the music.
With the social restrictions brought about by the pandemic, it has been difficult for many of us musicians to be deprived of the communal music-making experience that we thrive in. But perhaps we can take solace from ancient philosophy and sometimes try dancing with the Wind and duetting with the Waves.
Tania Caroline Chen - ‘Space Solid Fluid Time’ (6 min.), New York, 2020
Space, Solid, Fluid, Time is a composition in four movements that explores sounds, form and surface. It is part of a larger series of 20 films. June 2020
Tania Caroline Chen is a performance, sound artist, and free improviser. She performs internationally on piano, keyboards, digital, vintage electronics, found objects and video. She creates multidimensional sound pieces for video and live performance and has shown these works in the UK, Asia and California.
Tania has recorded with Stewart Lee, Steve Beresford, Henry Kaiser, William Winant, Wadada Leo Smith, Jon Raskin and with Bryan Day & Ben Salomen in the bands Bad Jazz and Tom Djll & Gino Robair in the trio Tender Buttons. Her solo recordings include Michael Parsons, Cornelius Cardew’s Piano Sonatas and John Cage’s “Music of Changes”. She has recently recorded Feldman’s piano pieces “Triadic Memories” and “For Bunita Marcus” in New York and at KPFA radio in California.
More about Tania Caroline Chen
Jack Goldstein - ‘DIABOLIC LANDFILL more blood’ (12 min.), Margate, 2020
Diabolic Landfill MORE BLOOD is a composition in three movements with a visual accompaniment. The piece burrows into the semiotics of hyper-reality, the transformation of things into signs and the misapplication of the term ‘experience’.
The composition utilises analogue and digital instrumentation, seamlessly blending them so that there is no clear distinction between where one ends and the other begins. For instance, the first movement (蟹工船/The Factory Ship) is a string ensemble composition. The piece is constructed using a blend of sampled audio units and live instrument recording.
The Factory Ship is named after the Japanese communist novel about a proletarian uprising on a crab fishing ship in the early twentieth century. The original meaning is relocated to the artificial canal city of Dubai Marina, where a luxury yacht passes by.
Similar to many other projects in the Persian Gulf, the Dubai Marina has seen strikes by labourers protesting the poor wages and the substandard conditions they are often forced to work and/or live in.
The second movement, With Your WiiTM Controller, Probe The Holiness of Your Body and See That It Was Meant to Live, sets out to explore the relationship, and eventual disintegration, between the privation of the physical world and the inability of consciousness to distinguish reality from a simulation of reality.
This results in objects losing their material reality (real-world, the exploitative labour practices that many workers are subject to). Use-value is consigned to the ‘ash heap of history’, the vast, figurative void to which cultural and ideological circumstances are consigned when they become historically redundant.
The third movement, Dasani Rain, imagines a world where ideology doesn’t so much as hide the truth, but acts as the very support for our perception of reality. After the disintegration of the real, the world around us is transmogrified into junk-space and we are presented with a territory of impaired vision, limited expectation and reduced earnestness – the diabolic landfill.
Steve Beresford / Christian Marclay - ‘Spontaneous Exchange’ (9 min.) - London, 2020
‘On 13 April I sent Steve Beresford a photograph I had taken that day while walking through the empty streets of London. The official lockdown had started on 23 March and by then the city was a ghost town. The silence was at first spooky, but eventually it felt very peaceful. I took this picture because the decorative white balls irregularly placed on the black fence reminded me of a musical score. Instantly I thought of Steve confined alone in his flat. I laconically texted him the image with the caption “How would this sound on the piano?” He responded “Leave it with me. I’ll send you something this evening.”
A few hours later I received a beautiful little interpretation that Steve had recorded on his phone. This is how our little game started and is still going on. After a few exchanges, I realized that all my images were of enclosures: gates, fences, windows, closed stores. A view of the world behind barriers. Steve responded beautifully and mournfully to these images of confinement. Here are five examples of these spontaneous exchanges.’ (Christian Marclay)
1. Fence Above Gate (15 April)
2. Circles & Shadows (23 April)
3. Balloons (3 May)
4. Revolving Doors (12 May)
5. Window with Reflections (21 May)
Gina Southgate / Alan Wilkinson - 'Serenade for Sisyphus' (6 min.) - London, 2020
Visual artist Gina Southgate is best known for live painting on the UK’s international jazz scene. Her history in metalwork and her studio painting practice inform this. Her long term interaction and performance with the cream of the UK’s improvising circles have enabled many memorable duos and group performances where she uses domestic objects, tools, and trash to make real-time audiovisual sculpture and installation.
Saxophonist Alan Wilkinson has been active in Improvised Music since the early 80s playing with many of its leading exponents and promoting it through various Club Nights, notably the Termite Club in Leeds and the current flimflam in London since 2001. Known for his intense, full-blown approach he has in recent years added clarinets, most notably the bass clarinet, to his sound palette.
Southgate/Wilkinson have been working and playing together throughout their 30-year personal relationship. During the lockdown, they have moved this into new forms, independently, and now together. Creating in their prehistoric fashion some old school improvisation for the digital age.
Blanca Regina / Pierre Bouvier Patron - ‘What Reality?’ (4 min.) - London, 2020
This collaboration between Blanca Regina and Pierre Bouvier Patron playfully explores the concept of reality in the pandemic and how it has changed our perception of the spaces that we inhabit. As in a dream they recreate the outside indoors merging architecture, found footage and their own archives. Starting with a sonic improvisation and later with a visual elaboration, they use different techniques, from physical projection to digital media, to bring multiple layers of perception. They question our notion of reality: through the camera, the software, photography and projection.
Gino Robair - ‘Mancy’ (2 min.) - San Francisco, 2020
‘We had a visitor. Asked some questions. Only heard replies.’
Gino Robair has performed and recorded with Tom Waits, Anthony Braxton, John Zorn, Nina Hagen, Terry Riley, Lou Harrison, John Butcher, Derek Bailey, Peter Kowald, Otomo Yoshihide, and the ROVA Saxophone Quartet. He is one of the “25 innovative percussionists” included in the book Percussion Profiles (SoundWorld, 2001), as well as a founding member of the Splatter Trio and Pink Mountain. His opera, I, Norton, based on the life of Norton I, Emperor of the United States, has been performed throughout North America and Europe.
Sharon Gal - ‘Etudes Vowels & Consonants’ (7 min.) - London, 2020
ÉTUDES Vowels & Consonants is a new work by Sharon Gal, one piece from a growing collection of scores and instructions; ÉTUDES for any voice. The film presents two personal interpretations of this Étude, highlighting the mouth’s inner cavity and juxtaposing several vocal renditions.
ÉTUDES will be presented as a deck of cards and published later this year, with support from Sound and Music and Unpredictable Series.
Sharon Gal is an interdisciplinary artist, vocalist, performer and composer, with particular experience of free improvisation and collaborative, large group compositions. Her work relates to sound, architecture,
live performance and participatory art, exploring presence, listening, embodiment and the relationship between people, sound and space. She uses voice, various instruments, electronics, field recordings, found audio, video and collage.
Sharon music was released by many labels, including five solo albums and various collaborations. Past performances include The V&A, Science Museum, ICA, The Whitechapel Gallery, Tate Modern & Tate Britain, MACBA, and Colour out of Space, Borealis, Supernormal and Supersonic festivals.
Marta Sainz/ Enrique Zaccagnini - ‘San Francisco’ (6 min) - Madrid, 2020
Harmonies at the crystal jungle. Marta and Enrique’s work and sound research has led them to collaborate through improvisations with voice, butoh dance and electronics, performing in places such as Reina Sofía, Media Lab and various national art galleries in Spain, Berlin and London.
More information about Marta Sainz Serrano & Enrique Zaccagnini
Steph Horak - ‘Not Including Deaths at Home’ (6 min.) - Leicester, 2020
‘I scaled the daily UK deaths from COVID to within 50 deaths per semitone and created a punched score for a music box component, which I play into a (badly) programmed MaxMSP looper. With the patch, I can scrub through the music box and voice loops granularly. The clumsy programming and intentional lack of “unified clock” in the looping system create unpredictable results akin to playing with another person and this system has been my instrument of choice for nearly a decade.’ Steph Horak
Statistics are taken from https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/
Instruments: music box, voice, bad looper patch
Paul Khimasia Morgan - ‘Guitar Body’ (10 min.) - Brighton, 2020
‘Guitar Body’ is an excerpt from a live performance at the Hundred Years Gallery in London in 2019, filmed by Bill Thompson of the Mercury Over Maps events.
“Besides the understated performance, the eerie tone of this noise is something to savour; alien yet not too distancing, both cold/forlorn and yet somehow warm and comforting.” Ed Pinsent, The Sound Projector
“…feedback-like tones rising carefully amid a cloud of metal thorns. Khimasia Morgan’s knob twiddling has more physicality to it than most you hear, which gives the performance some nice visual weight.” Byron Coley, The Wire
Paul has performed in collaborative projects with Daniel Spicer, Blanca Regina, Steve Beresford & Richard Sanderson, Charlotte Keefe, Ryu Hankil, Cristián Alvear, Mark Wastell’s THE SEEN, Gus Garside, Joseph Young & Kay Aplin, Simon Whetham and Hákarl; his music has been released on Confront, engraved glass, Linear Obsessional, Con-V and Aural Detritus.
Catarátas del Niágara - ‘Tribute Concert for the missing persons’ (15 min) - CDMX, 2020
Cataratas del Niágara Tribute Concert for the missing persons, dead and survivors of the armed guerrilla movements in Mexico at the Ayotzinapa´s 43 missing students camp.
‘For us, social distance does not mean social and political indifference. We’ve always played in the streets during the upheaval of protests and artistic manifestations and that is why we have decided to perform this improvisation outside, where our voice can be heard.’
Artist Antonio Gritón/ keyboard and computer processes and contrabassist/filmmaker Adriana Camacho- contrabass, voice, loops, ocarinas. Our inspiration comes from avant-garde musicians like Lamonte Young, Sun Ra and Terry Riley. We create atmospheres and soundscapes that refer to unconventional states of mind, political statements and resistance. We have presented ourselves in political marches, EZLN Comparte festival, Pavilion 02 during the 58th Venice Biennale, Resist! Festival Mexico City and Vienna, UAM workers strike, Jazzorca, Terraza Monstruo among other festivals and venues.
Leafcutter John - ‘Please keep going’ (5 min.) - Sheffield, 2020
‘ The video is shot in my back garden in Sheffield and gives a close-up view of a snails journey including an athletic climb up a piece of grass. Scored using a modular synth.’ Leafcutter John
Electronic musician, inventor and teacher Leafcutter John explores microcosms of sound through instruments of his own making – be they photo-sensitive grids controlled by bike lights and sparklers, precarious, home-spun Rube Goldberg-isms or glistening modular banks. Leafcutter seems drawn to the aleatoric beauty of natural systems; he’s been heard baffling Max Reinhardt on Late Junction with an atomic recording of a peeling tangerine, and aurally charting the price of gold at the Roundhouse.
Orphy Robinson - 'This Day, That day, and the other day! Who, what, when, where, why!' (5 min.) - London, 2020
Orphy Robinson is one of the major figures of the jazz scene – he has released records on Blue Note and played with Don Cherry, David Murray, Henry Threadgill, Courtney Pine, Jazz Warriors and Andy Shepherd.
He has composed for Film and TV- including “In answer to your question” for the Balanescu String Quartet and “ 42 Shades of Black” for Phoenix Dance Theatre,which was performed at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta.
Currently leads the groups CODEFIVE- NUBIAN VIBES – he also plays in the groups BRUISE and CLEAR FRAME.
Beibei Wang - ‘Before The Flood’ (7 min.) - London, 2020
Percussion and spoken word (created during Covid-19 lockdown 2020)
‘Before the Flood’ is a composition by percussionist Beibei Wang inspired by the poetry of Deshawn McKinney. Set during a world-changing flood, “Before the Flood” explores both a personal response to challenging events, and the nature of struggle in society and with the natural world around us. Inspired by the themes of the poem, Beibei combines conventional instrumentation with water textures to interact with the rhythms of McKinney’s spoken word.
Percussion : Beibei Wang
Vocals and poem: Deshawn McKinney
Recording: Jeremy Glasgow
Filming : Michael Skelton
Anna Homler/ Jorge Martin - ‘Uranian Days’ (10 min.) - Los Angeles, 2020
‘Our video is a collage of improvised performance in response to life being completely unpredictable these days due to the pandemic. Disruption has become the new normal.
These are the qualities of the planet Uranus. It rolls through the heavens on its side, bringing revelations and revolutions. Hopefully, it also symbolizes the breakdown before the breakthrough.’ Anna Homler
Anna Homler is a vocal, visual and performance artist based in Los Angeles. She has performed and exhibited her working venues around the world. With a sensibility that is both ancient and post-modern, Homler sings in an improvised melodic language. Her work explores alternative means of communication and the poetics of ordinary things. She creates perceptual interventions by using language as music and objects as instruments.
By day, Jorge Martin is a mild-mannered medical researcher but, at night, he transforms into a well respected sound artist. Though classically trained on piano and clarinet, he is more often heard constructing intricate music by processing the output from his modular analogue synthesizer panels through a myriad of guitar effect pedals. Until a few years ago he was one half of the acclaimed duo Spastic Colon.